UN Hails Middle East Green Initiative as Valuable Commitment and Strategic Vision

The United Nations’ deputy leader welcomed the Middle East Green Initiative’s inauguration in Saudi Arabia on Monday as a crucial commitment and strategic vision for transitioning regional economies away from unsustainable development and toward a model “suited for the challenges of the 21st century.” 

With only a few days until the G20 Summit in Rome, followed by the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed praised the new initiative. She states that it will not only assist the region’s oil and gas industry decrease emissions but will also help generate new carbon sinks and restore and safeguard enormous expanses of land through afforestation. 

It is now obvious that the global economy is irreversibly moving toward deep decarburization in all sectors, including energy, industry, transportation, and food systems. 

Ms. Mohammed echoed the Secretary General’s warning that global temperature rises of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial levels would lead to a “hellish future” for the world’s children. 

Climate change has already harmed entire populations around the world, with the Middle East and North Africa being particularly vulnerable. 

According to Ms. Mohammed, the region will suffer 200 days of high heat, with temperatures over 50°C, every year by the end of the century if it does not take action, due to a variety of systemic concerns such as desertification, food shortages, forced relocation, and intense heat waves. However, the region has amazing assets to leverage, which may position it as a leader in the transition to a post-carbon, resilient, and inclusive economy. 

Ms. Mohammed urged everyone must move promptly to ensure a fair net-zero transition in all regions, particularly those that rely on oil and gas earnings. 

While shifting away from fossil fuels will be a monumental task, it will necessitate tailored assistance for those who may be impacted temporarily. She maintained that those investments may provide endless long-term rewards. She stated that the multilateral framework is based on the ideals of solidarity and fairness, which is why she is glad to see that the Middle East Green Initiative is a regional and cooperative approach to climate action. 

During COP26, the UN deputy secretary-general urged world leaders to be ready to make the conference not only a success, but a true turning point toward “a green, resilient, and just transition.” 

In light of this, she recommended that all countries alter their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to include more ambitious climate policies that would get the world closer to its common emission reduction objective internationally.  

The G20 countries, which account for up to 80% of global emissions, must set an example, according to the UN official, who also urged donors to devote at least half of their climate financing to adaptation. 

Private finance reaches constituencies that are “not always on their radar,” such as least developed countries, small-developing islands, and generally vulnerable communities, according to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which requires that all public and private financial investment flows be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

And private finance institutions must pass a credibility test that includes “robust taxonomy and standards; mandated climate risk disclosure and increased openness across the board to guarantee that all financial flows contribute to meeting the 1.5°C goals”. 

And private-sector leaders should recognize that developing countries should not be burdened with unsustainable debt levels, forcing them to make untenable trade-offs at the expense of their people and the environment. 

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